Archive for January, 2010

“G” and “M” connectors on ’86 fuse panel

I had to read the wiring diagrams when I installed the fog lights 🙂 The group of (mostly unused) spade connectors on back of panel have some interesting properties, especially G10. Here is what I decoded, your van’s panel may be different, but I hope this list will be useful in thinking about power taps.

The male spade connector group designated “G” in “that manual” trace out as follows:

G1 – X bus controlled power, fused through S12 (20A) (on my van it has BK/Y wire connected which feeds warm air blower switch)
G2 – #15 ignition switched power fused through S18 (10A)
G3 – X bus controlled power, fused through S12 (20A)
G4 – D+ alternator trigger circuit via alt. led light
G5 – #15 ignition switched power fused through S18 (10A)
G6 – dead end
G7 – power when headlights on
G8 – dimmer controlled dash light power
G9 – license plate lights power fused through S20 (10A)
G10 – power when windshield wipers run

and the M connections close by:

M1 – connected to G7
M2 – power with lowbeams

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Fog/Aux. lights installed

Finally finished the job. The bracket and light combo as originally designed did not allow the lights to point ahead without the backs hitting the lower grill. I put the aluminium spacers shown in previous post between the fog light and the right angle part of bracket. This pushed the light forward about 1/4″ providing enough clearance at the back.

I had planned on using the factory wiring set up (see German wiring diagram below) but have any of the pin type connectors (very much like Molex connectors) needed to plug into positions C22, B16, and B20 (multi prong connectors at back of fuse panel). But the surprising thing (well to me anyway) about the stock set up is that the additional relay added to “relay position 7” serves only to supply power to switch and not to isolate switch from the full light current. Just as it is a good thing to install relays in headlight system to reduce current load on headlight switch, I figure same approach should be taken with the aux. lights.

My version uses spade connectors and goes like this:
(this is for an ’86 syncro passenger van)

-G7 single point connector on back of fuse panel to + connector on switch *EDIT* I changed to use G3, X-relay power
-G9 single point connector on back of fuse panel to “30” on relay. G9 is fused through fuse # S20, license plate lights, I swapped in a 20 A fuse.
-connection from switch to “85” on relay.
-connection from light bulb on switch to ground.
-connection from “86” on relay to ground.
-connection from “87” on relay to fog light positive.

notes: the foglight switch is a 3 position switch and has 2 connectors on it, one for front fog light, one for rear fog light. It also has a light in it that illuminates when switch activated. The relay (40A) is mounted in one of those nifty bases that dovetails onto edge of fuse panel. G7 only has power when headlights are on *EDIT* I used the G3 spade, X-relay powered. so it gets power when ignition on. I grounded the lights via the right hand side lower radiator bracket bolt. The positive wire from lights passes through bumper sub frame via a grommeted hole, then up behind grill alongside the left hand edge of radiator then through body via a factory installed but unused grommet.

*EDIT* here is my circuit diagram as used

And here is the factory wiring.


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Fog/Aux. light brackets

Been mucking around trying to make some fog light brackets. I’m following the factory method, somewhat. Bending 1/4″ stainless stock (by hand, using some heat) and using some aluminium angle. Stuff I had lying around. The Cibie lights I want to use are quite deep, so the install is not going as easily as I would have wanted. The pics in the gallery show a page from the German manual, a shot of a repro bracket made in the UK, and my efforts. I didn’t make the final bend on my bracket, I wanted to use the aluminium angle to give me a bit of adjustment room fore and aft. Also, I think the final bend makes the bracket more flexible. But the result was a light too close to the lower grill. So I needed to make some spacers, and take boring pictures of the lathe. The brackets are affixed to the frame below the bumper by plastic wall anchors for trial fitting, when I am happy with the fit I’ll use stainless bolts. Oh, and yes, I painted them with rattle can bed liner stuff. Lots of stupid pics of lathe work 🙂

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How we get pork

Last Sunday we slaughtered a pig. In the past we have taken pigs to a local abattoir/butcher, but changes to regulations have forced many small “artisan” butchers out of business. And this time we didn’t want to ship the pigs to a strange place, its a stressful thing for them. They are for our own consumption so we can do it on site, and we started with one yesterday.
A couple of friends came by to help, they had done same thing on their farm.
It went well, 410 shotgun with slug, in head, pig dropped immediately, no drama. It was bled via a cut at base of neck and down into aorta. Then we moved it to where we had a scalding bath set up (to loosen hair so it can be scrapped off).

The pictures are pretty self explanatory, but not for the faint of heart. After I post this I am off to make guanciale with the cheeks ( I didn’t take pics of the severed head, that’s a bit much).


Alternator info

German language excerpt from manual showing exploded views and repair procedures for Vanagon alternators (45 – 90A models). It’s much more detailed than the equivalent sections in English language manual, plus you get a free German lesson.

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Frank G.’s modified instrument cluster

I took this from my website ( , thought some of you might be interested in it.
Frank writes:

Just finished building a new Vanagon Instrument cluster for my TDi conversion project. I’ve always disliked the Vanagon instrument pod. The center section really offended my sense of completeness. Just looked fake. When I decided to divert the 2.0 Turbo Audi project to the TDI, I decided to do something about it. The result combines the instrument cluster from the 1997 Passat TDI (contributes the gauge faces and front cluster face), a 1995 Passat GLs (contributes the MFA processor calibrated for the 4 cylinder engine), a vanagon cluster, the bezel from a ’97 Passat and a set of VDO gauges.

I’m using the wiper (controls the MFA) and turn signal stalks (controls the cruise control) on the steering column from the 1995 Passat GLS 4-cylinder. Here in the cluster, the temperature and fuel gauges are combined, with separate speedometer and tachometer. The warning light group contains the typical diesel functions. There are two unused light ports. I’m doing transfer logos for them and adding my two color (red/green) LED’s. One of the lights monitors the radiator fan speed (green for low, red for high). The other follows the auxiliary lights with green for Fog on and red for the driving lights. The MFA monitors among the standard features, the engine oil temperature, the average fuel consumption, the instantaneous fuel consumption and the external air temperature. This LCD screen also displays the digital clock.

In the bezel, I add a boost gauge and a pyrometer for EGT measurements. In the lower dash plane I have two gauges, one on either side of the column. To the left, oil pressure and to the right, oil temperature monitored after the oil coolers. In the lower heater face panel, I have a set of five gauges monitoring voltage on the primary circuit, voltage on the auxiliary battery circuit, the pressure in the radiator coolant circuit, an analog clock and an LED compass direction gauge.

The speedo drive is electronic. I took the rear mount out of an old Jetta speedo cluster I had, cut it up tp keep the frame and the Hall magnet wheel. Then mounted them in a box to take the place of the EGR counter. I use the 3 wire speedo hall sensor from the G/J series. Its a bolt up (or screw up) to the speedo frame. A variable pulse counter frequency adjuster (circuit supplied by my son) will allow variable adjustment for a dead on speedometer regardless of tires and state of wear. Precision wirewound pot for frequency conversion adjustment. Calibrate with simple GPS.

Further notes on fabrication…

On the master cylinder reservoir interference issue … it was in the way and I wanted to maintain the visual angles, so I took it out! I then used a master cylinder reservoir from a ’90’s Mazda pickup. It comes (from your local P&P yard) with a remote mounting bracket. I rotated it so the long axis is parallel to the windshield long axis. It comes with a built-in level sensor that I wired into the VW harness. I can’t remember if the vanagon originally came with the level sensor built in of if I added it to the vanagon reservoir and modded the harness years ago. For the inlet lines to master cylinder, I believe I used the plastic barb adaptors from a Super Beetle. I use an inline T to tap off the clutch feed. I mounted the reservoir in the same general area as the original Vanagon unit and aligned the inlet so that the plastic drip shield fit again (anal-retentive, I know). Clears the back of the cluster as if it were designed to do so! This solution should work for any cluster one would like to put in!

On the choice of cluster…. Well to start with, I have always thought (going back to March of ’82 when I placed the order for Westfalia for factory delivery) that the instrument cluster was a tacky design. The fake molded sensor lights particularly irritated me! I later years, I added the tach, the oil pressure warning circuits, the VSS speed sensor and redesigned the warning light package to give right and left turn signal lights, added cruise control lights, finally adding multicolor LEDs to the fake center section to monitor radiator fan speed, intercooler fan speeds, fog and driving lights and A/C control parameters. But I never liked the look of the thing.

When I decided to TDi the Vanagon, my orders to the salvage yard were that I wanted it all – engine, hoses, all wires and sensors. To my surprise, they included the speedometer cluster. The three gauge pattern carried the same info as the Vanagon cluster, but much more cleanly. The row of sensor lights along the bottom of the cluster was very tasteful and, the LCD display made it possible to add the MFA (multifunction display) to the package. I noticed immediately that the size of the Passat cluster was just a bit larger than the vanagon center section, so I decided it was time to generate a cluster that was good on the eyes and technically compatible with the Vanagon. The MFA was a key part of the equation, since I could integrate a miles per gallon function together with monitors for oil temperature and all OBD II sensed engine variables (the son is hacking the MFA controller to display all accessible info). So, while the A4 cluster is nice and the later sport clusters from the Passat and G/J series are very impressive, they were somehow not in the same design paradigm as the classic Vanagon shape. The approach I used is compatible with any cluster. I chose not to go the digital monitor approach or to rebuild with aftermarket gauges (VDO or other), although the 9 gauge custom cluster seen here on the list recently pushed me from design to implementation.

Key details … Needed – Dremel tool, JB Weld, ’97 Passat instrument bezel, ’95 to ’97 Passat instrument cluster, one or more Vanagon instrument cluster bezels, flexible bumper spray paint, 20+ hours, high quality source of KMZT-FMin garage. To begin, I cut away all the instrument pod from the plastic vanagon bezel to a distance of about 1 inch from the front face. I cut off the bezel support pieces so I could reassemble them to the cluster in the end. I then took the plastic ’97 instrument bezel and used it to shape the remaining vanagon bezel surface. When I has the shape right (easier than it sounds with the Dremel tool) I bonded the passat bezel to the vanagon plastic. This left a series of open areas since the smooth transitions at the top and sides were not a part of the Vanagon shape. These areas were filled with JB Weld then smoothed and shaped by hand with various wet/dry sanding papers. On the back side of the Vanagon cluster, I removed the plastic shell support for everything except for the light switch and the lowest switch position on the right. I then filled and smoothed the front surface in preparation for cutting the two 2 1/16 gauges that I wanted as part of the cluster. I then bonded the cluster support pi eces from the original vanagon bezel to the revised unit. I set the positions in a jig, heat treated the plastic for a slightly different takeoff angel to meet the original mount point without stress. These support pieces were about 0.250 inches further to the right and left than the original. I then fitted the Passat cluster (took off some interfering tabs) and reinforced the remaining structure with JB Weld. The gauge holes and switch areas were then clearanced and a final sanding polish performed before painting with the flexible semi-gloss black. The paint removed fine sanding damage with a high film strength drying surface. Did a test fit and all was well including the latched top pod cover.

On the instrument cluster mods … I added the boost (0-30 psi) and EGT gauges in an excellent 270 degree sweep unit made by Speedhut. The MFA cluster (not part of the original Passat TDi cluster) was pieced together from a ’95 Passat GLs (4 cylinder motor) cluster with turn signal (has cruise control switch) and wiper (has MFA controller) stalks from same. (This idea came from Chris Bell on the TDIClub list). The tach sensing was correct for the TDi engine. The temperature gauge is appropriate for the sensor on the engine. The gas gauge worked for full scale to empty due to VW internal standardization policy! The speedo sensor is electronic. I cut up a GTi speedo cluster to get the Hall effect sensor wheel and mount shell. Added a VW three wire VSS sensor and turned it all into a 2.0 x 2.0 x 1.5 inch adaptor that pops onto the end of the Vanagon speedometer cable. I convert the pulses from this Hall sensor packet to the frequency (pulses per mile) needed by the Passat cluster with either a Dakota Digital pulse frequency converter of a circuit for variable calibration designed by my son. In the custom circuit, we would calibrate the speedometer with a GPS system and thereby lock it on for any tire combination.

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67 BSA Thunderbolt

Posted here just because it looks good, and pic was taken summer (2004) reminding me that the driveway does dry out.

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Nice syncro

I found this series of pics on my computer. I don’t recall where I originally got them from, if anyone recognises them I’d appreciate getting the info for attribution.
Lots of nice touches, one thing especially is the raised instrument cluster which I think would allow a better view of the dials.

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